Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Lucifer (Cancer Story, Part 2)

So off we went to the Emergency Room. Ted told them that I had gallstones that were giving me a LOT of pain. Once they took me back to a room, they attempted to get an IV in so they could give me pain medication. Well, that's never an easy thing for me...I have tiny veins, they're deep, they move a lot, and I have a poor blood return. Oh lucky me. It took about half an hour to get an IV in, and it was the smallest they had, a pediatric IV. The pain meds finally started to help and I was feeling a little less nauseous. Poor Ted was sitting in a chair next to me, dozing on and off. He was so tired. The ER doctor came in and said that they were going to send me for a CT scan, but first I would have to drink some stuff. I felt as though there was no room in my stomach to eat or drink anything, but they forced me too. I took it a sip at a time, about 16 oz. of chalky stuff with a tinge of a citrus taste. As I drank it, the nurse informed me that the tiny IV I had in my hand was not big enough for the CT dye, so they would have to start another IV. They looked and tried everywhere, and then after 30 minutes, they decided to try to get it into the top of my right thumb. THAT HURT SO BAD but it worked. Then off to CT I went. By this time it was around 3 am and I was so tired in addition to everything else. I just laid there and let them do their thing with me. I didn't care at this point.

The guy who did the scan was so nice and kind, but I barely remember anything else because I was dozing on and off. After the scan I was taken back to my room and had to do more waiting. Then I began throwing up again. In case I didn't mention it before, prior to this whole episode I had probably thrown up about 5 times in my entire life, so this vomiting thing was new to me. Around 5:30 am, Ted said he was going to go home and lay down for just a little bit and call his boss to tell him that he wouldn't be in. That wasn't a problem, because his boss is actually his brother-in-law. While he was came the surgeon. He introduced himself to me and was very VERY kind. He asked if I'd ever had any pain on my lower left side. I told him that I used to, and when I had mentioned it in passing to my OB/GYN, he hadn't seem concerned, and I really hadn't had the pain since my hysterectomy 3 years earlier.

Dr. P (my wonderful surgeon) told me that something showed up on the CT scan in that area, and that it could be diverticulitis or possibly a tumor. I sort of snorted and thought to myself, "Well, it sure as heck isn't going to be a tumor, that's for sure." Then Dr. P said that he was going to order a naso-gastric tube (I had no idea what that was at the time, thank GOD), admit me, then do a flexible sigmoidoscopy later on, so that he could see what we were dealing with. He mentioned that if it were a tumor, he would take it out, along with part of my colon and provide me with another way to empty my waste. I looked at him and mentioned "colostomy" and he indicated that that was what he would be doing, but it would be temporary. Okay, this was enough to think about. He left, assuring me that he would be in later, and right after that Ted came back. I explained it all to him and he assured me that it wasn't a tumor. Then two nurses came in with some tubing and other stuff and said that they would put in my naso-gastric tube.

They told me that I should suck water through a straw and it would help. They were going to put a small tube up my nose and it would go down my throat and into my stomach. I really knew I was in for something nasty when one of the women held the tube a couple of inches away and said, "don't make us stop because it will be much worse if we have to go in a second time."

OH MAN. I have NEVER endured anything like that and hope I never will again. It was absolutely HORRENDOUS. I could feel them pushing and shoving this tube up my nose, then down down down my throat. The pain was awful. One woman was holding one of my hands down while holding my head still. My other hand was holding the cup I was sipping from and the other woman was SHOVING that tube in. They finally said it was in and I was crying. Ted was crying because it looked so bad from his position. That tube began to suck the stuff out of my stomach. Even though I'd thrown up about 15 times since the evening before, my stomach was still pretty full apparently. Since I hadn't eaten hardly anything for 5 days, I didn't think there could be much there, but apparently there was. I saw all this yellowy gunk coming out and into a bottle. It was NOT a pleasant sight or feeling.

Ted called my mom and dad to tell them what was going on and then off to an inpatient room I went. Throughout the rest of the morning they continually took my vitals and then gave me an enema, what joy. Nothing came out except what they put in. Finally it was time to go for the flexible sigmoidoscopy. When I got to the room, I grabbed Dr. P's arm and I said to him, "What's your gut feeling on this and don't you lie to me." He looked me in the eye and said that he thought it was a tumor. Five minutes later, on the TV screen that I was facing, I saw it...a tumor...that I immediately named Lucifer.